Glasgow Rangers’ struggles in front of goal looked to be in danger of repeating themselves at the Ibrox Stadium before Ryan Jack’s stunning volley against Kilmarnock saw them move 21 points clear of Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Only scoring one goal a game has become an increasingly bad habit of Steven Gerrard’s side in recent weeks: they have only scored once in their past four Premiership fixtures.
In fact, upon further inspection, only one of their last three goals have come from one of the forward positions, with Ianis Hagi ending his mini-goal drought against St Johstone, not that that will come as much consolation for the Ibrox manager as he plans for the trip to Europa League rivals Antwerp.
There are two ways to look at Rangers’ record in front of goal in recent weeks. One is that this is a team without Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe but have still managed to overcome adversity. Another is that they lack any real alternatives to the aforementioned duo. Both statements are probably true.
However, while Jack scored what many may argue is undoubtedly a contender for goal of the season at the weekend, what it does tell us is that Gerrard still lacks options at the top of the pitch.
As is often the case in football, it is only a problem if it becomes a habit, as evident by their recent run of form. Scraping past Killie simply won’t cut it.
Ryan Kent has now gone four games without a goal or an assist, and while Cedric Itten could eventually come good, it’s clearly too early for the 24-year-old summer arrival to be trusted to lead the line should Morelos or Roofe be ruled out for any reason in the future – giving him the responsibility of being the Gers’ lead man up top is a heavy burden for someone still trying to adjust to the rigours of Scottish football.
It is a far cry from the form which saw Kent score four goals in the first seven Premiership fixtures at the start of the season and is clearly struggling for confidence in a Rangers shirt.
The Ibrox boss may have been satisfied with the result on Saturday but he will have been less than pleased with his team’s performance overall.
Gerrard had best sort it out before they travel to Antwerp for the Europa League tie on Thursday. Otherwise, he could be in for a rather nasty shock.
The Gers boss will undoubtedly be worried that his side is misfiring in attack, and will be hoping that the rest of his attacking players can step up in the absence of key players and get their shooting boots on.
AND in other Rangers news, Rangers must tie Steven Davis down to a new deal after Steven Gerrard’s recent comments…